« 이전계속 »
Dryden's Octavia is, however, much less refined than Lee's Statira. The first pardons her husband's love to Cleopatra, and is willing to accept his reluctant return with an alienated heart;-whilst the last makes a solemn vow never more to behold the man who loves her to distraction, because he has given her one proof of incontinence. There is deep knowledge of the female heart evinced in both these incidents. A woman is glad to be reconciled to the husband who does not love her upon any conditions —whilst the wife, who is beloved, is outrageous if she be not adored. Yet Lee should have considered, that such delicate expectations of perpetual constancy, as he has given to his pagan queen, Statira, were not, so late as his own time, prevalent, even among Christian queens. The consorts of Charles the Second and Louis the Fourteenth, saw as many partakers of their royal spouses' love, as the Sultana of Constantinople, and with equal patience. Barry was the last actor who acquired fame in the part of Alexander—he had every qualification, both in person and voice, for a hero and a lover. The play never failed of attraction in his youthful days; and its importance on the stage would be renewed by any performer of his peculiar abilities. Yet all Barry's endowments for this character appear to have fallen infinitely beneath those of Hart, the original hero. This Hart, it is reported by his biographers, made love, in Alexander, “with such godlike ardour, that spectators could scarcely once doubt of his immediate descent from Jupiter.” Nor was this performer's warmth of passion confined to his fictitious characters; he possessed it as a quality of his own, and was the man who beguiled poor Nell Gwyn from selling oranges at the playhouse door, and instructed her to become an actress. But soon she forsook the counterfeit King of Macedon for the real King of England,-and became mother of the Duke of St. Albans. The dreadful calamity which befel Lee, soon after the writing of this tragedy, is well known; yet no particular cause has been assigned for the affliction with which he was visited . Having progressively fallen into a state of insanity, he was confined in Bedlam for four years. In his lucid intervals he had industry; and followed his wonted occupation of writing plays; and his description of a madman in one of those productions, is surely, considering his own situation at the time, the most curious and interesting passage he ever wrote.
Description of a Madman, by LEE.
“To my charm'd ears no more of woman tell: * Name not a woman, and I shall be well. - to
Hike a poor lunatic, that makes his moan, “And for a while beguiles his lookers on.
“He reasons well—his eyes their wildness lose,
Lee was, happily, restored to society from his miserable confinement, though he did not long enjoy his liberty.
He died suddenly in the streets, at the age of thirty-four.
The severe indisposition to which he was subject, may possibly have had influence in guiding his pen to some of those flights of imagination, called by the sober critic—phrenzy. But thus the great Dryden speaks of those flights, and of those critics who censure them.
“Despise those drones, who praise, while they
“The too much vigour of your youthful muse.
• ACT THE FIRST.
Alexander's Camp before Babylon.
Enter HEPHESTION and Lysimachus, fighting; CLYTUs parting them.
Clyt. What are ye madmen This a time for quarrel ? Put up, I say—or, by the gods that formed me, He, who refuses, makes a foe of Clytus. Lys. I have his sword. Clyt. But must not have his life. Lys. Must not, old Clytus ! Clyt. Hair-brained boy, you must not. Heph. Lend me thy sword, thou father of the war, Thou far-famed guard of Alexander's life: Curse on this weak, unexecuting arm 1 Lend it, old Clytus, to redeem my fame; Lysimachus is brave, and else will scorn me. Lys. There, take thy sword; and, since thou’rs bent on death, Know, 'tis thy glory, that thou diest by me. Clut. Stay thee, Lysimachus; Hephestion, hold